The lawyers of Rothstein Donatelli stand shoulder to shoulder with survivors of childhood sexual abuse in New Mexico. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church unleashed untold number of predators into our communities, leading to generations of devastation and decades of secrecy and coverup. Each of us deeply understands and appreciates that unleashing those closely guarded secrets can help give survivors their power back and provide the information needed to make sure this never happens again. That is why we were proud to stand with this client in his quest for answers and release of the truth.
This case arose from a man who was the victim of heinous childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a known pedophilic priest, a priest who admitted he could not and would not stop sexually assaulting children, a priest specifically directed by Church authorities to New Mexico, where he was accepted with open arms and served at a parish in Alamogordo. That parish is within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces.
After a lifetime of suffering, this survivor launched a quest for answers as to how the abuse he and countless other children in Southern New Mexico endured was allowed to happen. This led him to request public records from the Attorney General's Office, where records with those answers were available and purportedly public, with the Attorney General having requested thousands of documents from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces. Having taken the Attorney General at his word concerning a commitment to transparency and healing, this survivor sent the Attorney General's Office an Inspection of Public Records Act request seeking access to those very records. For months, the Attorney General delayed, finally explaining that the office held 26,808 pages of records responsive to the request. Amazingly, in direct contrast to public declarations of transparency and support for survivors, the Attorney General refused to produce a single page of those records. While there are specific reasons a public agency may withhold records, there was no lawful exemption allowing the Attorney General to withhold tens of thousands of records.
It was not until this survivor, with the assistance of his attorneys at Rothstein Donatelli, sued the Attorney General for refusing to release those records, that the civic leaders of New Mexico finally agreed to do the right thing. The records document and outline the epidemic of priest sexual abuse of New Mexico's children within the Catholic Dioceses in southern New Mexico and provide necessary transparency and a step forward for our communities to understand and heal.